NHL realignment doesn't change much for Hawks

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NHL realignment doesn't change much for Hawks

The Blackhawks didnt have a huge stake in the NHLs realignment. Nevertheless, with the leagues Board of Governors vote on Monday night, the Blackhawks will keep their biggest rival in their conference.

The board approved a four-conference alignment format that keeps the Detroit Red Wings in the same group as the Blackhawks. The board authorized Commissioner Gary Bettman to implement the new setup, pending NHLPA input.

The Blackhawks new conference includes them, the Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets.

Additionally, under the new format every team would play every other team outside of its conference twice once home and once away. That means the Blackhawks will host every team every season instead of every other season, as is the current setup.

That last item was a needed change. Too many seasons big stars werent playing in every building, denying fans a chance to see them. And for Blackhawks fans, that Red Wings matchup remains five or six times a season (an eight-team conference member that plays an opponent six times one season would play it five times the next season).

Oh, and heres the deal with playoffs: the top four teams in each conference qualify, with first place facing fourth and second playing against third. The four respective conference champs would meet in the third round of the playoffs.

Of all the teams in the Blackhawks conference, the Stars are probably the happiest travel-wise. The Stars have long been a member of the Pacific Division, traveling outside of their time zone one or two hours for every other division opponent.

And, of course, Winnipeg will get to see favorite son, Jonathan Toews, three times a year. Not a bad setup.

Blackhawks trade back, select Henri Jokiharju at No. 29

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Dayna Fjord/Portland Winterhawks

Blackhawks trade back, select Henri Jokiharju at No. 29

The Blackhawks made their third trade of the day Friday night, but this one didn't have the same magnitude as the first two.

Gary Bettman announced the first trade of the NHL Draft involving Chicago, which shipped its No. 26 overall pick (goaltender Jake Oettinger) to Dallas in exchange for the No. 29 overall pick and a third-rounder (No. 70 overall).

And to make the Blackhawks' pick, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews welcomed their newest teammate by announcing the selection of Finnish defenseman Henri Jokiharju at No. 29 overall

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: How do Friday's blockbuster deals impact the Blackhawks going forward

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: How do Friday's blockbuster deals impact the Blackhawks going forward

On the latest edition of the Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Tracey Myers and Charlie Roumeliotis break down the Blackhawks' blockbuster deals involving Niklas Hjalmarsson being dealt to Arizona and re-acquiring Brandon Saad from Columbus in exchange for Artemi Panarin.

They also discuss what it means for the team going forward, and whether it's a precursor to bigger deals to come.

Listen to the latest episode of the Hawks Talk Podcast below.